Yes, Ohio State's Still a National Contender, But It Must Accept the Magnitude of Losing Braxton Miller

By Patrick Maks on August 21, 2014 at 8:15a
Michael Thomas is one of many weapons the Buckeyes can use on offense.
92 Comments

Three weeks ago, at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, Jeff Heuerman was asked to explain how critical it was for Ohio State to keep star quarterback Braxton Miller healthy. His answer?

“How important is it for Cleveland to keep LeBron healthy?”

OK, got it. But, uh, what happens you fail to do that?

“It’s obviously a blow, but it’s part of the game,” senior tight end Jeff Heuerman said Wednesday. “Sometimes, you’re gonna lose guys to injuries and I think everyone who plays understands that.”

That’s real, sure. But did you really expect to lose Miller? With less than two weeks before the season opener? To a season-ending shoulder injury? The same one he had “minor, outpatient” surgery on in February to repair damage sustained against Clemson in the Orange Bowl?

“Not really honestly,” Heuerman said.

“We threw a lot in the middle of July, end of July. We were in (the Woody Hayes Athletic Center) throwing it a lot. He was whipping it around fine. It was kind of one of those fluke injuries you got to deal with, but I never expected this.”

Of course not. Nobody did.

“It’s not how you draw it up,” he said, “but it happens and you gotta move on.”

So Ohio State transitioned officially into uncharted territory Wednesday morning – life without Braxton Miller for an entire season.

Outside looking in, the perception is the Buckeyes are no longer a viable playoff contender without Miller, a new-look offense already charged with replacing four offensive lineman, Carlos Hyde, Corey “Philly” Brown, and a bad pass defense that underwent an “overhaul” in the offseason after it caused the team’s undoing last year.

It’s why, all of the sudden, games against Navy, Virginia Tech and Cincinnati in the first month of the season could get interesting. And what about Big Ten play? Can they really challenge Michigan State and whoever for a Big Ten title with that many questions hanging over it? Is Ohio State out of the national picture?

“You know the answer to that,” head coach Urban Meyer, who’d probably rather touch a poisonous snake than that question, said. “Got practice 21 tomorrow and I still like our team. After today’s practice, I really, really like our team.”

That’s a pretty standard answer from Meyer, who prefers to publicly dwell in the here and now and shoot down big-picture questions like they were incoming missiles.

“One thing that our team’s been pretty good at, and I’ve gotten better at, just worry about the moment,” he said.

For the Buckeyes, it’s preparing redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett – who hasn’t played a down of college football yet – to fill Miller’s massive shoes. It’s getting an offense with so many moving parts in position to gel once the season rolls around in, oh, nine days.

The moment also means that talent – a lot of it – is supposedly brimming on both sides of the ball. Ohio State says it’s got a new cache of offensive weapons that hasn’t existed the past two seasons. Names like Dontre Wilson, Michael Thomas, Jalin Marshall and Corey Smith haven’t been necessarily shy about how they think think they’ll contribute to an offense that was among the nation’s best last season. It minimizes the need for Barrett to be Miller.

“The good thing is the pieces around him, I don’t want to give up too much of it, but I’m hoping he can throw some short balls and they turn into long gains,” Meyer said. “We haven’t had much of that around here.”

On defense, Ohio State should have one of the nation’s best defensive lines, the linebackers are supposedly the best they’ve been in three seasons and the back end has fully-bought into a plan laid out by co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chris Ash.  

Days removed from a “devastating” afternoon at practice Monday, a sincere level of optimism abounds around the team. And until proven otherwise, the Buckeyes can still be a contender without Miller.

To be sure, losing one of the best players in the country could cripple Ohio State and Barrett, for as much as Meyer and his teammates will gush over him, he’s no Miller. Not even close. Meyer knows that. So he’s going to do his best to field an offense tailored to Barrett’s skill set as a “distributor.” Meanwhile, the Buckeyes aren’t going to bag the season.

“We’ll bounce back, it’s not the end of the world. We’re not gonna forfeit any games, you’re not gonna just quit,” Heuerman said. “We’ve been through adversity before, it’s just another stepping stone. We’ll get through it.”

A stepping stone? More like a boulder. 

Still, writing Ohio State off before it plays a game is as silly as acting like Barrett can replace Miller without as much as a hiccup.

"It's all to be determined," Meyer said. 

With or without Miller, a team like Ohio State's got the talent to win it all any given year. But as long as he's in a sling, its chances of doing so takes a major hit. 

92 Comments

Comments

chitown buckeye's picture

Come November, nobody is going to want to play this team! Mark it down.

"I'm having a heart attack!"

+29 HS
dubjayfootball90's picture

Hell yea. That is the spirit I like to see and hear. So pumped for this season to get under way!!!

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

+10 HS
avail31678's picture

You're on pace to win the Interwebs today, Chitown, with that comment.

It's actually kinda nice to not have clear-cut expectations now, and not be in win-every-game-or-bust mode (although we totally could run the table).  It's more excitement to see what JT Barret, our slew of speedy skill players, and our new revamped D can do.  Let's play some foosball!!

+3 HS
Dayton Buckeye's picture

I still like our chances to win the Big 10. We have a boat load of talent.  If the O line can step up and JT can get the ball to our playmakers we can run the table in the regular season.

+4 HS
robobuck's picture

Speaking of offensive weapons, whatever happened to Dontrelle Willis? Is he taking a redshirt or what?

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  1 Corinthians 9:24

-2 HS
CincyOSU's picture

Why would he be redshirtng? He's good to go. 

SafetyGuy's picture

I would call him more of a defensive weapon, but it looks like his career is dwindling at best.

http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=425883#gameType=%27R%27&sec...

O-H-

+4 HS
charles's picture

TIL: There is something called a Marlins Charlie Hough Good Guy Award, and D-Train snagged it in 2006.  

Edit Add: You could also argue that he was a decent offensive weapon too.  Career numbers include .244 AVG, .287 OBP, 9 HR.  Definitely nothing to sneeze at.  And it was a competitive advantage being in the NL, where managers wouldn't have to take him out later in the game to sub in a better hitter.  

+3 HS
Burnsy's picture

Was Chalie Hough that nasty knuckle-baller who looked like the anti-athlete, quintessential 70's and 80's throwback pitcher and could have stared in the movie slapshots? 

+5 HS
What Would Troy Smith Do's picture

Yes.  I always thought the junkball pitcher Harris in Major League reminded me of him.

+2 HS
Burnsy's picture

Yo bartender, Jobu needs a refill. 

+2 HS
HailChiefWahoo's picture

I love that you guys took this comment as far as you have...gave me a good laugh this morning.  God this site is great.

+2 HS
northcampus's picture

There was a very short window during Dontrelle's time in Cincy that I thought he had regained his mojo.  Almost as quickly as it came back, it was gone again.

There's a high-end apartment complex right across the river in Covington where a lot of Reds live.  On my way into the office, I saw Willis walking around at 7am one morning in front of the complex and he was chugging water from a gallon jug.  He was more wandering than walking.  I think his issues are/were more mental than physical.  He sure was fun to watch when he was on top of his game!

+1 HS
BuckminsterFullback's picture

I think his issues are/were more mental than physical

His delivery had a lot of extraneous motion; it can't be easy to maintain command with that many moving parts...

+1 HS
iamcbs's picture

He's pitching this season for the Bridgeport Bluefish in the Atlantic League. He's 32 years old and he hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2006.

I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep, I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion~Alexander the Great

saltybuck61's picture

I remember Willis pitching as recently as 2010 in Detroit.

MilwaukeeBuck's picture

The delusional Wisky fans here in SE Wisconsin seem to think they're ticket has been punched to the playoff after they beat LSU.  I was told that losing Miller was the equivalent of them losing Melvin Gordon for the season.  I had to remind them that this is still Ohio State.  They have a lot of depth at each position and it's not like they still can't win the B1G title with the talent they have stockpiled.  Should be an interesting season.

+4 HS
mh277907's picture

They better worry about Nebraska and Iowa.

buckeyebobcat

+10 HS
73buckeye's picture

I lived in Wisconsin for 30 years and can attest to the Wisky fans delusions. They actually thought they were really deserving Big 10 champions when they went to the Rose Bowl after finishing 3rd in the division 2 yeas ago. 

ernie

+9 HS
Buckeyeneer's picture

They are the Penn State fans of their division.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

+8 HS
Patriot4098's picture

As a casual Penn State fan (grew up there), I'd agree with this whole heartedly. Wisky needs to worry about their own though. B1G championship game will rock their world regardless of who emerges from the East.

"Evil shenanigans!"     - Mac

+2 HS
HeuermanTheFireman's picture

Except Penn State has won National Championships 

The person responsible for toes clearly wanted you to stub them.

whiskeyjuice's picture

I live in Milwaukee too, and not only are most of them delusional, they are also not very friendly to OSU fans. They don't care too much for anybody wearing OSU clothing on Saturdays in the sports bars. 

"Championships are not won on Saturdays in November. Championships are won on Tuesdays in August." -- Kerry Combs

causeicouldntgo43's picture

I'm convinced that cheese curds affect the brain. How else to explain Wisky fans?

+4 HS
buckeyefn31's picture

Gallons and gallons of beer, combined with a winter that lasts 9 months.

+5 HS
Idaho Helga's picture

ONLY 9 months? (note my name)

Those of us who live in the shoebox by the side of the road, would kill for only 9 months.  And you tell the youth of today these things and they won't believe you.  I'm polishing up the ol' skis this weekend.

daveyt11's picture

Another factor is with lower expectations, a young team like this can play with a nothing to lose mentality. The coaches can take a few more risks figuring this is a no pressure season. Could fail but could work out very well also...9 days everyone!!!!

+4 HS
Frimmel's picture

This doesn't seem like a group that handles being told, "you can't do that" very well. I was watching BTN live last night and the talking heads more or less dismissed us. That didn't sit well with me and I'm not actually personally insulted by it. Should be a big motivator for the team.

+7 HS
mrinder83's picture

That's what I was thinking.  First of all, I think Meyer should be able to keep this team focused easier now because no one on the national side expects big things from them.  They will be hungry and play with a chip on their shoulder.  Before Miller went down, we were still going to be favorite in every game with maybe a push or slight Spartan favorite at east lansing.....now they will def be a favorite over us unless they have a complete meltdown.....penn state might be a favorite over us as well in some peoples eyes.  We will be able to play the underdog role in some games which has been a long time since that has happened

mrinder

+3 HS
Frimmel's picture

I've said a couple of times now that Miller's injury has eliminated the possibility that the team will "underachieve." Doing as expected doesn't provide the same motivations as attempting to exceed expectations. The goals remain the same as any season for the Buckeyes but Miller's injury has really flipped the script.

BroJim's picture

Any chance we see Jalin line up behind center for a play or two. . . Maybe he has a package?

I season my simple food with hunger

+3 HS
tdible2132's picture

I have a buddy who hangs w Jalin and I've heard that Jalin will indeed be used in a wildcat package, or at least that's the plan. Sounds like they started installing the package. Should be a great change of pace for the O!

AndyVance's picture

It’s why, all of the sudden, games against Navy, Virginia Tech and Cincinnati in the first month of the season could get interesting. And what about Big Ten play? Can they really challenge Michigan State and whoever for a Big Ten title with that many questions hanging over it? Is Ohio State out of the national picture?

Since sports pundits love narratives, this is actually a silver lining in the Buckeyes' Miller situation. Games that were going to be looked down upon because they aren't against top-25 opponents will now be considered respectable challenges for the freshman-led squad. Assuming we perform well, this will make our resume look more impressive come November.

+12 HS
What Would Troy Smith Do's picture

I could buy this.  It definitely gives us a margin for error, pr wise, if we aren't dominate, but manage to win.

+1 HS
What Would Troy Smith Do's picture

Yeah my bad and I'm actually a good speller. Oh well.

+1 HS
IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

Especially considering Navy, VaTech and Cincy very likely will all end the season in the Top 25. Even with Braxton those games weren't going to be easy.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

+1 HS
Poison nuts's picture

Yes. I love OSU being put into the role of the underdog, or at minimum, a team that doesn't have all of the expectations they had last week. People expected a Heisman from from Braxton, a B1G title, a Final Four appearance (at minimum), etc. It's a lot of pressure that can weigh heavy on people whether they admit it or not. Now they'll be expected to lose at least one game if not a few, & it put's that invaluable chip on the teams shoulder where they now have something to prove to the world. I like it. In CFB - the role of the underdog is, IMO, one you almost want to be in.

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

+3 HS
Clinger76's picture

BOOOOOM. Like this point!!

"If you take no risks, you will suffer no defeats, But if you take no risks, you will earn no victories."

+1 HS
apack614's picture

Does anyone know that actual healing time for this surgery? Hypothetical situation, if we were to make it to the playoffs and eventually to the NC is it possible we see Miller out on the field?

"If we worked half as hard as our band, we'd be champions." - Woody Hayes

Squirrel Master's picture

if this team goes that far, I would probably want Miller to stay out for the season. Because that would mean that JT and the team is rolling and shouldn't be messed with.

now if they don't make the playoff and have a loss, then go to a decent bowl game like Orange bowl or Sugar bowl (I think those are not in the playoffs), and Miller can come back, I would love that.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+2 HS
HSBDAWG's picture

Leave him alone and let him heal. I would rather have to deal with the 2 or 3 QB monster next year then burning a red shrit this year. Plus while he is rehabing the shoulder it will also help in the fact of his passing game, so do not rush him back and lets just ride this storm out.

+2 HS
Jpfbuck's picture

his last surgery had a 5+ month window before he was cleared to throw. assuming he has it done this week and that is any indicator of timeline, it is February before he can throw again,,,

this may also play into Braxton's decision to come back, ie if it takes until early February before doctors say he is good to start throwing again and the combine is in 2-3 weeks after that, he may not feel that is enough of a window to get ready

QBYBuckeye's picture

Not a chance.  Notwithstanding the fact that would undo Braxton's redshirt, you dance with the one you came with.

New York Buckeye

+3 HS
Canukbuck's picture

If we make it to the NC game, there would be no way I'd mess with the team chemistry that got us there and put Miller under center.  If J.T. and Jones combine to get us through the season undefeated, then Mr. Miller can enjoy the NC game with a box of popcorn on the sideline ..... Not even up for discussion IMHO

+1 HS
apack614's picture

I agree completely, I was just trying to understand a timeline. It would be cool to see him come in and catch a pass or run the ball a couple times though!

"If we worked half as hard as our band, we'd be champions." - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
northcampus's picture

Imagine the possibility of Miller returning for the NC game and joining the huddle WITH Barrett/Jones (similar to the WR role Pryor played in the bowl game vs. Texas with Boeckman at QB).  Barrett/Jones having Miller, Wilson, Samuel, Elliott, etc. as options on the same play is something I would love to see!

saluki2007's picture

I completely agree with you.  If he did come back, wouldn't he lose his red shirt?

Birdman2's picture

I kinda think all this doubting of the team is going to pay off in a positive way. Everyone is getting behind Barrett, and you can see them coming together as a team. Circle the wagons!

Squirrel Master's picture

This is how I look at it,

JT isn't as good as Braxton right now, true.

but this team is better than it was last year. So the team with JT can and should be better than what we saw last year. It just won't be what we would have had with Braxton and this better team.

The only thing that is lost is the extra cherry on top with Braxton, but the sundae is still awesome! I think a playoff is still in the cards.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+13 HS
saluki2007's picture

Couldn't have said it better.  Wish I could give you a helmet sticker.

+6 HS
What Would Troy Smith Do's picture

How do we know this team is better?  Our O-Line will not be as good.  Warriner is the best OL coach in the country, and I expect him to have them up and running, but they won't be what last years was.  They were the best in the country and considering Urban himself said he was concerned about the LG spot, I'd say we haven't gelled just yet.

We hope linebacker play will get better but who knows.  We lost Shazier and while we have some serious talent in the wings, I don't know that it translates this year since so many are young. If you ask me, I do think the LB play as a whole is better, although we won't have an individual with Shazier type numbers.

Secondary.....where do we start.  Believe it or not, I actually think that even with the turnover here, we will be much better.  One, it's hard to be worse.  Two, a good scheme can cover for a lot of things like inexperience.  If I had to bet money, I would bet on this unit finishing somewhere in the bottom half of the top half of the country in pass defense.  But again who knows.

I just think we have alot of question marks to know for sure what we have.  I do know we have talent oozing out of the woodwork and one of the finest coaching staffs in the country.  So we might be better than everyone thinks and I hope we are.  I would also classify Braxton as more than the chery on top.

Optimisim is warranted, but with a grain of salt maybe.

+3 HS
QBYBuckeye's picture

I am much less worried about our Defense than I am our Offense.  We have only three starters returning on O, Decker, Heuerman and Smith.  We have a ton of potential, but all of it is unproven.

Do we have the talent to run the table? Yes.

The reason I am so optimistic about this season is Urban "really, really" likes this team, and they had the best practice Urban has seen in Columbus on the day after BM went down.

New York Buckeye

Canukbuck's picture

Braxton has elusive qualities as a QB and could launch the deep ball.  Guiton ran the read option much better than Braxton (Braxton sometimes looked like he guessed which option to use and his athleticism would bail him out on many occasions) and also had the short passing game down better than Braxton (better "touch" on the ball).  There is never a substitute for experience, which is where Braxton has it over either Guiton or Barrett.  However, Guiton was not a cripple and neither is Barrett (both good Texas QB's).  I have no doubt that J.T. will surprise both fans and opposing teams with his ability to use his legs.  He also has a great deal of experience (like Guiton had) with the read option offense, so he'll be fine.  He also has a very good short passing game, as reported by the coaches.

All in all, I expect J.T. Barrett to show as much athletic ability as Kenny G. did when he came in, but KG had the advantage of sitting behind Braxton studying, while J.T. has only been around for one season.  I really believe that teams will come after Barrett and try to blitz the hell out of him .... that is, until he cuts them to shreds with screens, dumps to the backs, TE shots across the middle and short crossing routes behind the backers.  He'll be absolutely fine and each game will allow him to grow in confidence, plus his teammates will be putting in that extra effort since Braxton won't be around to bail them out when the game gets tight ....

TURD_BUCKET's picture

The non alcohol hangover is starting to fade and I'm getting pumped again. Way pumped.

Yes, the magnitude of the loss has been noted. But, no excuses and no what ifs. Lets talk about what we have instead of what we don't have. Let the coaches earn their pay. If you believe it, you can achieve it.

GO BUCKS!

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.” John Wooden

+1 HS
Run_Fido_Run's picture

Trent Dilfer just said on Mike and Mike that "JT is not going to look as talented as Braxton Miller, but . . . he's the right guy to take over in this situation." Later, he said that JT had excellent "arm talent" and that "when JT grows, he's going to be a phenomenal college QB." Dilfer, who'd worked with JT when he was in high school, praised JT's outstanding leadership qualities.

+12 HS
SouthernBuck's picture

Listen, I love watching Brax play ball. He is the most elusive qb I've ever seen. With that said, he's not (or hasn't been) the best qb. I know at times last year, I felt like our offense as a whole, looked better with Smooth Jazz in. If JT learned anything from Kenny G, I hope it was to be ready and be yourself. JT isn't Braxton but maybe we don't need him to be. 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I agree - Brax is amazing and an outstanding QB in Meyer's/Herman's offense, as it was constituted in 2013 and would have been run in 2014 if Brax had been healthy. 

That said, if we move beyond the stats and the jaw-dropping highlight reels, and we try to get philosophical about QB play . . . can we really say that Brax was a better QB last year than guys like Blake Bortles, Brett Hundley, or AJ McCarron?

d5k's picture

Yes, he was objectively better than those guys.  I think the play calling was more balanced and nuanced when KG was the QB however.  Herman/Meyer tended to rely on Braxton left/Braxton right rather than calling a balanced gameplan.  Then in the passing game tended to rely on play action bombs to make the defense pay for selling out to stop Braxton's legs rather than a balanced passing attack.  The offense therefore became a bit of feast or famine but we feasted more than we went hungry.  This year should be more balanced meals but less feasting.

+2 HS
buckeyelindz2004's picture

I completely agree with this post! I know Braxton is very good, but sometimes change isn't a bad thing. There were times I got very frustrated with Braxton as QB in the past few years. I'm curious to see how JT does this year. 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Patrick Maks wrote of JT (above): 

he’s no Miller. Not even close.

Still, writing Ohio State off before it plays a game is as silly as acting like Barrett can replace Miller without as much as a hiccup.

I agree that, if JT tried to replace what Miller does, he'd not be even close. But the coaches will ask JT to be a different type of QB than they asked of Miller. No question, Miller was the better option, that's why he was the clear-cut starter. But let's wait and see what JT does as JT in the offense that gels around his particular skills and attributes. We might be pleasantly surprised by the results.

As college QBs, Brian Hoyer was not even close to as good as Johnny Manzier - not even in the same stratosphere. I realize that Hoyer's been in the NFL for, what, five years now. Still, no one who watched these two play in college would ever believe that if comparable talents were on the same team together that they'd be locked in a QB touch-and-go competition. But Hoyer's game, not just his NFL experience, more easily translates to what the Browns try to do offensively.

+1 HS
What Would Troy Smith Do's picture

I have to say, we here have totally drunk the kool aid and talked ourselves in to the Barrett era.  I'm not saying we are completely downplaying Miller's injury but there is a ton of unbridled optimism.  I've seen some crazy predictions for him on these threads.  I'd say cautious optimism is the best we should do (I think this about other areas too; passing defense, OL replacement).

I love him and even redshirted him so I could get more time playing with him in NCAA 14, but while he showed flashes I did not think he was all that great in the spring game.  It also takes time to build a rapport with receivers, learn the offense, read defenses.  I've heard great things about him, his prep, his leadership, but it is hard to replace experience.

I'd say this article is about right.  This is a huge blow.  We do have the talent to compete, but the fact that zero losses was the highest vote getter in the poll on here.........Well, that doesn't seem to be the most likely outcome.

This probably isn't very popular but I do think it is a realistic look.  However, I will be more than happy to be wrong and applaud our top 10 pass defense, and Barrett's Heisman.

bucndc's picture

It's pretty easy to sit in the middle and call the person on each side of you an extremist. I like their optimism and passion.

+1 HS
What Would Troy Smith Do's picture

I know exactly what you are saying.  I love the fact that people aren't abandoning the team or their love for it.  I'm not either.  I just don't see it the same.

I will be honest, I am dreaming of an undefeated season. I will take it one game at a time and be optimistic but nervous as hell before each game.  I think we can win them all and will be disappointed if we lose (even if it was to a tough team).  During football, I live and die with this team.

But if asked honestly, if I thought we end up chugging along with little residual effect from this I would say no.

+1 HS
Jpfbuck's picture

Troy i agree

I have no problem with wanting to stay positive but the comments about Jameis and Johnny etc put way too high an expectation on this kid

dont forget yes we are OSU and we have a ton of talent, but

we also will have at least 7 new starters on offense (4 OL, QB, RB, WR) and maybe TE if Heuermann is not ready to go yet.

I think to "expect" much more than what Pryor did in 08 is to set yourself up for disappointment

Pryor that year ran for 600 yards and 6 TDs and passed for 1300 yards and 12 TDs with 4 INT's in the equivalent of about 11 full games (10 as starter and 3 off the bench), extended to 14 games, (should we make the B10 champ game and a bowl), then that would be 750 yards rushing and maybe 8 TDs and 1600-1700 yards passing and maybe 15 TDs and 5 INTs

That year TP had a veteran team around him with Beanie (although dinged up for part of the year) still running for nearly 1200 yards and 8 scores and Herron for nearly 500 yards and 6 more scores.

that's 2400-2500 yards of Total offense for Barrett and 23 TDs responsible for. compare that to Braxton last year who had almost 3200 total yards and 36 TDs responsible for and he didnt play in nearly 3 full games against cupcakes...

thats a realistic expectation for this kid is to duplicate Pryor, and then we have at least 700 yards of total offense and 13 tds to make up with everyone else to match last years performance in essentially 11 games,,,if you add in Guiton's numbers it gets even worse.

do i think we can still win every game? Yes, is it likely we see Barrett rack up Guiton against Cal and FAMU type numbers against Navy, Va Tech and UC? absolutely not.

due to that are those games now riskier than they were before? you bet.

could and OSU team that runs the table and wins every week by 7-10 points get bypassed for the playoff, absolutely they could....

to my mind we need to stop with the Jameis comparisons or even the Guiton comparisons until this kid at least takes 1 snap in a real game 

+1 HS
QBYBuckeye's picture

But don't forget the magic of JT.  The last JT we had was a pretty successful head coach.  It's an omen!  This JT will be a pretty successful QB.

New York Buckeye

+1 HS
buckeyelindz2004's picture

awww I hadn't even put together the "JT omen"! awesome. :)

goodlifesean's picture

Completely understand your view and agree we should be cautiously optimistic. That being said pryor also had a bad realease, was a true freshman, had a video coordinator as the qb "coach" and a marine mammal as an OC. I don't think 3000 is too much of a stretch for JT. With a hopefully better defense and more speed in the h/reciever area, I feel some optimism is warranted, maybe not the hiezmin 4 evr 11!!1!11!11!!!! Type, but still some optimism in a bad situation.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Zero losses was not the most likely outcome even if Braxton had been fully healthy this year. I just think some of us just aren't comfortable picking Buckeye losses in a poll and then having players come on here and see that 2 and 3 losses, respectively, were the leading vote getters.

My2Sons's picture

Isn't this past spring the 1st time JT has thrown in a competitive situation since his jr. yr. in high school (not sure when his injury happened)?

The only people who know how well JT AND Cardale (yes,he's still there) are doing are the players and coaches.  We'll see soon enough.  One thing, tho.  Since the 1st year under Tressel, I have never sat down to watch the Buckeyes with the thought that they might lose.  With my health as bad as it is, I'm sure as he*l not going to start now.

+1 HS
Run_Fido_Run's picture

I hope your health improves along with the team this fall. 

+1 HS
QBYBuckeye's picture

We, the Buckeyes, don't need J.T. to be Braxton Miller.  We need J.T. to be the best J.T. he can become between now and game time.  We need him to understand what he brings to the party and work within those parameters.  We need him to understand the skill sets of the players around him and make the best use of those skills as he can by getting the ball to the right person at the right time.

So far, by demeanor reputation, and past behavior, J.T. looks like he gets it.  Navy will be a challenge.  He needs to focus on Navy for now.  After that, VT will really tell us what we can expect for the rest of the season.

This is college football at its finest.

Go Buckeyes!

New York Buckeye

+1 HS
THEOSUfan's picture

They say the definition of a CFB fan is someone who is in a constant search for any sign of disrespect.  I try not to be that guy.  Ohio State has questions that need to be answered, and they had some glaring weaknesses last year.  Someone pointing those things out is not being disrespectful.  Noting that losing Braxton is a huge loss that could negatively impact the ceiling for this season isn't either.

However, Howard Griffeth said yesterday said that with the loss of Braxton, he would rank Ohio State the 4th best team in the B1G.  4th?  Now, damn it, that's disrespectful.

There is a best case scenario involving a re-appearance of the Silver Bullets and a JT Barrett who is Johnny Football-esque.  There is a worst case scenario where the pass defense still has issues, the OL can't protect or allow OSU to run the ball, and JT has typical RS frosh struggles.

MSU had a great team last year.  Everything fell in place for them. I congratulate them.  But they have almost every analyst's nose up their butts.  They are recruiting better than they used to, but they still have to rely on player development to compete at the highest level, and if they have a few key injuries or suspensions, they will fall back.

Ohio State is the most talented and deepest team in the league.  If the defense and OL issues are answered, then JT just needs to hand off, and get the ball to all those speedy guys.  I suspect the rumors of the demise of Ohio State football has been greatly exaggerated.

+5 HS
Him1stftballl8er's picture

I have a feeling this will make the team better losing Braxton in the same way our LB play may actually get better without Shazier. The crutch is removed. Meyer said so as well, "if you have a special team, situations like this make those kinds of teams stronger" and Urban is right. 

At at least it happened before the season started to give players and coaches time to prepare. I have a feeling we're gonna see a chip on this teams shoulder that we haven't seen before. 

The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the promotion of fools. 

+2 HS
buckeyelindz2004's picture

Agreed. Attitude goes a long way to winning games. 

FROMTHE18's picture

JT needs to stay healthy, get rid of the ball fast, minimise turnovers, and make the right decisions (like throwing it away vs trying to scramble). Ive watched Cardale's "highlights" and Im far more confident with JT in there than Cardale. Cardale would just force throws and pile up interceptions like Gardner does for Michigan. Really need JT to be in there the entire time if we are going to compete for a B1G title, IMO. 

+1 HS
Run_Fido_Run's picture

JT needs to . . . minimise turnovers . . . 

I'd labour to say that you're bloody well right about that, bloke. 

+1 HS
saevel25's picture

OSU will probably go 6-0 in the first 6 games. The Penn State game might be tough because it has given Franklin's team time to mature with the first half of the season. I still think they got depth issues. I can OSU going 8-0 going into the MSU Game. 

By that time, I hope J.T. is comfortable, got his groove down with the skill players. Hopefully the Defense has stepped it up over last year. If so, I think we got the talent to take out MSU in an away game.  If we get past that game, then the only hurdle left is the *ichigan game at home. That game can always turn into some sort of craziness. 

I would say 50% chance of going undefeated, and 40% chance of one loss, 10% chance of two loss. 

d5k's picture

As much as I love the buckeyes if gambling were legal I would like to bet against your predictions...particularly the 0% chance of 3+ losses.

-2 HS
sb97's picture

I just saw the ESPN B1G blog's preseason all big ten team.  One Buckeye.  Seven Spartans.  Me thinks this team is going to be very angry very soon.

+3 HS
The Rill Dill's picture

That type of shit, has NO credibility.  Everyone do yourselves a HUGE favor------don't listen/watch/read ANYTHING those asshats have to say.  That outfit is a JOKE.

+4 HS
buckeyelindz2004's picture

I am NOT looking forward to another season of Mark May's stupid, douchebag-ness.

bigbluebuckeye's picture

Though I tend to hate this because it's overplayed, the "us against the world" mentality can help squash any internal issues that may have been affecting chemistry or anything else.  So while I normally agree that such thinking is reserved for teams that aren't good enough to just do it, it's a solid rallying point in the face of all the national talking heads and B1G foes writing us off.  NEXT MAN UP!

Our honor defend we will fight to the end for OHIO!

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

Barrett is going to surprise a lot of people especially the national media.  We will win 10+ games and a bowl game.  

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Love the buckeyes, love our coaching staff and the impressive talent we have.  That "said", replacing the OLine, no Carlos Hyde and losing the two time BiG offensive player of the year, the QB position being the most important position on a football team ... our coaching staff is going to have to pull out every trick in the book.  I'm afraid defenses will just load up the box and give us the deep ball until JT can prove he can hit the long pass, which usually takes a young QB a season or two to become proficient at doing.  I think the coaching staff is at Defcon 1 right now, will be an interesting season.  The defense has to be MUCH better than the last two seasons.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

HeuermanTheFireman's picture

Our defense is going to be hungry and a hungry defense is a scary thing. As a well informed contributed (no bias here) I am ready to say we will have a top 15 defense overall this year. Book it. You heard it here first.

The person responsible for toes clearly wanted you to stub them.

Mr. Bungle's picture

I agree that the expectations for this season are overly optimistic.  Three to four losses sounds about right.  Losing our OL, El Guapo, Shazier, an unknown (porous) pass D returning......yikes.

IMO, this was a rebuilding year even with a "healthy" Miller.  Without him, it's rebuildier. 

-1 HS
Jbucks's picture

in my mind, losing Miller will make our team not better (of course) but could give our whole team a boost! at times last season Miller took the game in his hands and the team just coasted along. With Miller gone the whol team has to know they all need to step up their game in order to succeed, they hear all this nonsense and feel like the college world is writing them off over 1 player and to me that makes the whole team plays with a bigger chip on their shoulder than they thought they had before. last year was the chase this year its time to prove we are more than 1 player and we are thr best team in the NATION LETS GO BUCKS!!! also i cant wait to see the defense we need them more than ever in order to prove we belong in the final 4

Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it-John 1:5 SEC meet Ohio State, Ohio State meet SEC

Blackout1111's picture

No way this team is even close to a N.C contender. Braxton was the only true proven offensive player we had. Sure potential talent is there but nothing to indicate this team is a contender. 9 wins is the max this season

-2 HS
dallavise's picture

It's hard to predict this one. Miller and Pryor were bigger talents by far their freshmen seasons, but the strength of their game was not their mind and maturity. If JT can step it up in that dept., than we could easily do better than both those years, but if it proves too much for him, we could lose 3-4 easy. Honestly really hard to tell which way this goes, but the things being said about JT give me optimism